Being in flow is when I’m so totally in the moment, and time is not registering and I’m feeling joy and connection. And it’s found doing lots of my recreation actives such as yoga, painting and listening to favourite music and meditation.
However, I’m really fortunate that it’s also found when I’m in session with a family and I can feel that I am on the same wavelength as they are, what I’m sharing is resonating with them and it feels as if I am doing what is my purpose-supporting, guiding and validating their experiences. I’m so fortunate that my ‘day job’ is also something that allows me to truly be in my flow state.
Today I wanted to give you a very quick summary of just TWO steps that will help you with a common problem or challenge I frequently hear. And that is-“how do I help my child with their emotions?” So whilst is a very big, broad and individual question, but I thought I would give you two things that will help you along with this. 1)The first step is understanding WHAT emotions are and HOW these are experienced and COMMUNICATED for your child. Remember that emotions are experienced as PHYSICAL sensations in the body, but that they are also a THOUGHT process that occurs in our minds, which is further articulated through our use of language. So particularly for younger children and children with autism, there can be a couple of additional challenges with emotions because of they way they may be perceiving their emotions physically (due to a different sensory profile) and differently to how we would expect. And in addition to this, they may not have the skills or knowledge on how they can give this feeling a label and then express it verbally -and this could be further hampered due to challenges finding words for feelings and or expressive language delays). The second step is to then help them with linking these emotions onto the correct facial expression or word for what it is they are feeling. You can do this via the use of visuals, prompts and supportive parenting to assist them make the link between their feelings and a label for these feelings. This process of naming and labelling our emotions in turn helps to reduce the intensity and return to a calmer state more easily. So I hope that these two steps helps you to understand and help your child with their emotions.
Music is a powerful creator of emotion, memory and movement. It has the ability to transpire us to exact moments in time or a period of time. It also operates on an unconscious level as well, in that we may be unaware of memories associated with a song until we hear it. I have that happen in my yoga infusion class, where if I hear the tracks that we do our ab workout to, my body remembers immediately!-not necessarily fondly! Recently I was asked to pick a song that could be an anthem for this year. Although I have so many music loves, I picked a song that had been recently resonating with me, just because it was a new song I was enjoying. It does not have profound lyrics, it’s not by one of my favourite music artists, BUT it does remind me of warm summer evenings of being carefree and unwinding. And now it is winter and this feeling is needed more than ever! So Harry Styles ‘Watermelon Sugar’ is playing as I write! I love how a favourite song has the power to shift your mood, encourage you to move your body-all the things that creates a release of that feel good brain chemical dopamine. Getting more of this is a positive move for our mental health and wellbeing and a way to prevent and assist with depression. So what song gets you moving and what song creates a happy grove for you, or ignites memories that are great to relive?
Make sure you get some music in your day today and sing along if the mood takes you!
For me, when things get difficult, when I don’t think I have energy left in me, my children and knowing that I have the power to improve their life, to influence them in a great way, is what gives the extra push to keep going, to keep working, to keep expecting more of myself and to keep learning.
They are our teachers at the same time, they are there to be taught and guided and supported. Their mental health and wellbeing is more important than most (if not all) other items that try to take our attention and time, so let that guide you.
Let your families motivate you to make difficult choices, push yourself out of your comfort zone and to do what needs to be done. I know my family is worth it to me and I know yours is worth it to you.
Bliss is reading a book, (uninterrupted) that is engaging and inspiring. It’s reading that book with the sound of the ocean softly making the noises that oceans do in the background. It’s being able to dig my toes into the soft sand and notice the feel of it against my skin.
It’s being able to take a short break from reading, take a deep breath of clean air in through the lungs and let my eyes drink in the view of the expanse of blue water, blue skies and sand.
It’s having no time pressures or agenda and it’s being able to marvel at the sheer expanse and enormity of nature and it’s amazing display of colour and calm.
These moments are cherished and missed, especially this winter when the little slice of bliss is usually sought and found, but luckily there are other ways it can be found (while I plan future trips to the warm beach…).
It can be found in small moments of reading, sitting in the winter sun with face held to its rays, in ocean sounds on my Spotify playlist, in remembering and looking at photos of previous trips and sitting on the riverbanks of our own Murray River.
It comes down to relaxation, self care and taking time to just appreciate what is here.
Hope you can find your own bliss moments today as I share this one with you.
‘A really good guide has walked the journey before, knows the bumps and turns in the road and pitfalls along the way and can point out the best views to keep your eyes open for.’
Today I turned my mind to the autism journey and how I might be able to share my knowledge of the this journey for people that have not walked it before, or are maybe at the beginning of this road. This journey is personal, sacred and unique. It does not even travel along the same path each time, it does not cover the same terrain or even have the same destination for each individual or family.
Although my perspective of this journey, will be different to yours, particularly because I’ve not walked it in the same way you may have. My experience is that of an observer and supporter. My knowledge comes from you, because I have years of experience witnessing the journey and walking along side others with them on their journey.
I’ve been able to take note of what others have seen, heard, felt, and experienced. I’ve listened to the fears, I’ve seen the concern and I’ve seen the relief and joy when all the amazing parts of the journey becomes clear. I am able to take those collective insights and memories with my own reflections, to help others along their path.
My hope is that I will always be mindful that the journey is always only yours to travel, but that it’s ok to not want to do it totally alone and it’s ok to ask for advice or suggestions along the way and it’s actually clever to take some guidance along the way.
We all know when we smile and laugh it feels really good, but did you know that smiling and laughing even when we don’t feel happy or amused, will make the the muscles in the face send messages to the brain, which will cause the neurotransmitter endorphins to be released? These endorphins cause feelings of happiness and also reduces cortisol levels to lower. So if you are wake up and are not feeling in the best of mood, smiling to yourself or watching something funny, will actually cause your mood to be boosted. And the run on effects for smiling more can positively affect relationships and longevity.
Favourite humans are women in my corner, who support me, question me and laugh with me (and sometime at me!). And I’m fortunate that they are my sisters and my best friends. These women that I’ve know my entire life have grown up with me and continue to come with me along this journey that is life. And the beauty is that although we can continue to have our own families and friends, this friendship we’ve developed continues to grow in strength as we grow older. I’m so grateful for the wonderful memories in childhood and adulthood. It’s wonderful to know one another as kids, teen, adults and mothers. It’s also an inspiration that I hope that my own daughters grow closer to one another and appreciate their sisters as friends. I feel very fortunate for these favourite humans as they demonstrate the just the best of what people can be!
What does it take to get you to take action? And what action is going to get you to where you want to be?
Taking action take real courage and is the hardest part of change. In therapy we often talk about our goals, dreams and desires and how much we want things to be different. Then at the end of the session we try to map out what steps need to be taken in order for things to be different. Cognitive therapists often call this ‘homework’ or a homework task. It could be something as simple as recording your mood, it might be writing some new helpful thoughts out on paper and sticking them up so you can see them, it might be putting your alarm on to remind you to go to bed at a time that is going to help you with energy the following day, or it’s putting a reminder of our goals up on the fridge. Just one small action that we then want to repeat until it become a new habit. Making the commitment to start this one small action, is also difficult to do.
I know that getting the right information is important, trusting that you have the right plan is vital, but often once we have all these things laid out before us, we still hesitate to take action (even though we know we should).
What helps and why therapy can be so helpful, is accountability. It is knowing that you are going to show up and that your psychologist/coach/mentor is going to ask, how you went with the action that was talked about last session. And not only that, they are going to cheer you on if you were successful and help you figure out what stopped the action from taking place if you were unable to follow through on your plan.
So find people who will hold you accountable on actions that you need to take, because change cannot happen without those actions. Tell people about your intentions for action and ask that they check in with you to see how you have gone, or get formal support in that accountability.
And if you have goals and dreams for your children that you want them to reach, take action on their behalf, because they look to you for how to do life. And when we are unsure of how to help them, take action to find the answers to those questions from someone that does.
And speaking of actions, if you have a young person in primary school that would benefit from learning some new skills (anxiety management and happiness skills) so that can make some positive change, feel free to learn more about our school holiday programs that we have just opened up for enrolments.
There are only 10 places in each group, so head to the Events page or Side by Side Psychology website for more information.
What to do when inspiration doesn’t spark?! When nothing flows and you don’t have your mojo anywhere to be found? How do you try to ignite the motivation or drive when you are tired, worn out and overwhelmed? I know I’ve been there, I know I have days like this.
For me one thing that helps is finding the voices of those that do inspire. It’s finding the voices of those that are real, authentic, down to earth, gritty and determined. It’s knowing that they are human, they are flawed, just like we are, but that they have decided to step out of their comfort zone nonetheless.
When I hear voices and stories like that- that’s what I find inspiring. Those kinds of real voices helps me to believe, helps me to make hard changes, helps me to take risks, when I’d really rather not-I’m not really a risk taker or an adrenalin seeker at all. All my business mentors are this voice in my head and are voices I listen to, to get me inspired, to get me moving to get me growing and changing.
So as you know I’m in the business of change; usually for others. And I know that change is about taking risks, so for me, to ask my clients and parents of kids and families to make change, I have to walk the talk and do the same.
So I need to find people who inspire me to take those risks, to cheer me on, to show me that it can be done! And just because some of the change or risk taking that we might be doing could be slightly different-it doesn’t matter, all change is hard and all fears work the same way-they make you shrivel, they make you want to hide! Which will just not do!
So, do you have someone you in your life-a friend a mentor that helps you feel inspired? Or maybe it’s someone you follow on social media that helps you find that inspiration? Is there someone who inspires you to be a happier human, to have more loving connection within your family or to assist you in your job as a parent and human?
I think it’s really important that we have inspiring people around uswhether in person or otherwise, or whether it’s through images around us, nature, food, homes, art, music or words. Everyone needs a little inspiration to get them through the day.
And one little tip that I currently use is this:
Be tuned into good news and those that bring it. Have your radar up for it! Block the doom and gloom news (and those that like to bring it, if need be) but keep an ear and eye open for the positive stories and great outcomes-whether on the tv, radio or in your news feed. It can make a big difference if you purposefully look for positive new stories rather than just absorbing what the mainstream media often puts out.
So what else do I do when inspiration might be slow to be found?
Well when it comes down to it, I look to YOU.
Knowing that if I can inspire someone to take a risk, to step into something uncomfortable and scary, because they want a better future, then that in turn, inspires ME to be visible and daring as your psychologist.
To unveil the mystery of what a psychologist is, what talking with one can do, then that inspires me to do all I can do to make that happen. So if my writing or posts inspires even one person to begin the change they need, then this is enough inspiration for me.
So if you’ve not found your inspiration, keep searching for it and in the meantime, you can BE the inspiration for others.